Nikon Df, blending quality with classic styling
Nostalgia and the classic look are continuing to be popular with camera consumers. Nikon is the latest to enter the market with its super-high quality Nikon Df, which looks remarkably like the classic Nikon F model, one of the first cameras I used as a professional photographer almost 40 years ago. It was the first camera I used with a motor drive. The Df also takes on the styling of the Nikon FM model, another one of the cameras I remember using as I stroll down memory lane.
Though Leica is the standard when it comes to classic cameras, others have entered the ring to generate interest with camera enthusiasts.
One of the first companies to mix the old-school look with the new technology was Fujifilm. The X100 model could be used as a body double for a conventional Leica. It has been updated with the X100s, which certainly would be a nice choice for a reasonably priced camera with great quality in a compact size.
It features a hybrid viewfinder giving you both eye-level optical and an electronic view for checking focus, exposure, shutter speeds, ISO and aperture along with a conventional 2.8-inch LCD stream. This camera features a 23mm fixed f/2 Fujinon lens. The camera is priced at $1,299.
Fuji has continued its classic style trend with other models including: X-Pro1, X-E1, X20 and X-M1.
Another major player is Olympus with its popular OM-D E-M5. As I wrote in a previous column, it closely resembles the old-school OM film camera introduced in 1973. It was advertised as “the world’s smallest and lightest 35mm single-lens reflex camera.” Olympus broke away from the standard SLR cameras at the time and made a small, more compact version in the 1970s and 1980s.
The Olympus OM-D E-M5 has become a standard for those who want to travel lighter and more compact but want to have the look and feel of a conventional DSLR and interchangeable lens. It’s also splash proof (with certain lenses), which is another reason to travel with this camera. The camera is priced at $1,299 with a 12-50 mm lens.
The new Nikon Df with its full-frame quality FX sensor, has classic styling with mechanical dials for ISO, shutter speed, exposure compensation and shutter release mode. Nikon has also made a special edition older looking, 50 f/1.8G lens. It certainly is an interesting concept, but it’s a little too early to tell how this format will catch on. It can be pre-ordered and is priced at $2,996.95. The Nikon Df is a considerable investment for most photographers and might be a tough choice against the comparably priced D800.
Nikon Df features include:
16 megapixel CMOS sensor
ISO range – 100 to 12800
Exposure bracketing - 2 to 5 frames in steps of 1/3, 2/3, 1, 2 or 3 stops
Focus – 39 point
Noticeably missing from this camera are the video capabilities. Although I would prefer it as an option, Nikon is zeroing in on the the still-camera retro-purist photographer looking to capture the feel of the past along with the highest technology and quality.
Top four photos (clockwise) Nikon Df, Fujifilm x100s, Olympus OM-D E-M5, and Leica M9
November 24, 2013, 6:13 am
Ah me, yes I bought a Nikon F in Japan in 1968. Wonderful camera and still works well, although like everyone else, (almost) I got trapped in the digital age. I used two Leica's as well. These were masterpieces of work for the time.
November 26, 2013, 9:46 am
I have a Nikon D4 that I love but I gotta tell you, the new Df is exciting to look at. The fact that it doesn’t have video makes it that much more appealing. I have no plans of ever using the video feature on my D4. I’m a still guy. In spring of 2014, I will buy both the Df and the D800. Shoot every day my friends.
December 28, 2013, 7:24 am
I bought a Nikon F in Japan in 1968. Wonderful camera and still works well, although like everyone else, (almost) I got trapped in the digital age.
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